No Minister

Archive for the ‘NZ Politics’ Category

DECIPHERING GOVERNMENT SPEAK BY THE NUMBERS

with 3 comments

The Ardern government stands yet again accused of being all fluff and no substance. Fascinated by the article by Rachel Thomas looking at how well prepared New Zealand was to deal with the Delta variant should there be a community outbreak.

The number of ICU beds available proves the fluff. In May 2020 we had 358 ICU capable beds throughout the country (MOH figures). At that time the MOH said it had received advice from DHBs that there would be 522 ICU capable beds by June 2020 and no doubt everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Fast forward to June 2021 and it is reported there are now just 284 ICU beds in the country … less than there were twelve months previously.

According to the MoH’s Deputy Director-General for DHB Funding and Accountability that doesn’t necessarily mean that ICU capacity has fallen as there was a difference between ICU beds and ICU capable beds. So we’re being asked to accept this is apples and oranges stuff. Confused … you’re forgiven … an ICU capable bed implies there are the facilities in place to support it.

Are there? We don’t know and at best the MoH appears to be fudging the figures.

Written by The Veteran

August 1, 2021 at 3:35 pm

Posted in NZ Politics

Tagged with

HASN’T BEEN A GOOD FEW DAYS FOR JACINDARAMA – TAKE YOUR PICK

The cock-ups in MIQ continue apace.

Inflation hits 3.3% and projected to increase

The ‘rural howl’ gathers pace

The OCR predicted to increase sooner rather than later

Labour funds criminal gangs to the tune of just under $3m

The Minister of Defence inserts foot into mouth (with perhaps more to come)

The taxpayer to foot the bill for returnees from Oz going into MIQ … after Jacinda said the opposite.

Banks increase mortgage rates

Massive increase in the criminal use of firearms

NZ imports record amount of ‘dirty coal’ from Indonesia making a mockery of the government’s attempt to reduce our carbon emissions footprint

The numbers on the government’s Priority A list for social housing top 20,000.

and

and

and

the list goes on.

New Zealand, the way you’ve got it.

Written by The Veteran

July 17, 2021 at 3:23 pm

NEWSFLASH

Inflation hits 3.3%. The OCR now predicted to rise in the near future. Middle NZL fights back.

New Zealand, the way you’ve got it.

Written by The Veteran

July 16, 2021 at 12:46 pm

STOP DIGGING JACINDA

Clearly the PM is feeling the heat over her decision to give a criminal gang nigh on $3m to fund a rehabilitation programme for the addicts the gang themselves created as major players in the manufacture and supply of Class A drugs by claiming the grant is just a continuation of what National did as part of its methamphetamine action plan.

Stop digging Jacinda … covering yourself in muck ain’t a pretty site. You know and I know that National didn’t fund the Mongrel Mob under that programme. National doesn’t view gangs they same way as you do. Your attempt to dissemble is pathetic. And while we’re at it just how does YOUR decision square with the fact that YOUR mob have reduced the funding for drug and alcohol rehabilitation programmes in our prisons by a reported 75% since you took office.

Nah, on second thoughts I’ll retract the headline. Keep digging Jacinda … please.

Written by The Veteran

July 13, 2021 at 12:13 pm

Posted in NZ Politics

Tagged with ,

AIN’T WE DOING JUST PEACHY

A selection of stories making the headlines from the beginning of the month …

Revealed that as at 31 March 4,368 children were living in motels up from 3,288 three month previously.

That the gummit in the last 8 months has paid out $37.6m to private security guards manning MIQ facilities. This after announcing it was recruiting its own guards … to date just 48 recruited.

The Maori Party wants NZL to move away from a democracy to one where Maori control the levers of power as of right.

A Northland DHB report has it that the number of homeless in Whangarei increased from 21 in 2018 to 293 in 2020.

40% of MIQ beds remain empty while Kiwis struggle to get home.

Mike King exposes the hypocrisy of Ardern’s commitment to improve mental health outcomes and returns his ONZM gong.

Drug and alcohol programmes in prisions are down 75% compared with when National left office.

The Priority A Housing list for social housing has increased 432% to just under 22,000 since Labour took office.

The gummit is paying out $1.35m in ex gratia payments to inmates and staff for possessions lost in the six day Waikeria prison riot … a riot that could have been contained in six hours by the use of force.

Nurses are striking for better pay and conditions but the gummit has no problem in stumping up $750m (cough) for a bridge for cyclists and pedestrians.

Petrol prices are going through the roof.

Ardern and Faafoi tagged for muddled thinking on their proposed hate speech legislation.

New Zealand – the way you’ve got it.

Written by The Veteran

July 8, 2021 at 11:13 am

NICE BLOGGERS DON’T ATTACK OTHER BLOGGERS BUT ….

‘The Jackel’ is a nasty little blog who, despite avowing not to be connected to any political party, spends its whole time attacking National and ACT. The author(s) might just as well be one of St Jacinda’s ever growing band of press secretaries. Labour good and can do no wrong … everyone else bad … end of story.

His/their latest post is a hit job on National’s Chris Penk, shadow Attorney-General, Courts, Defence and Veterans. It takes issue with Penk in his stated desire to reform the Disputes Tribunal to include matters of debt in its remit. TJ asserts Penk is wrong … that the Disputes Tribunal can address debt owed. Clearly TJ is no lawyer and lacks cognitive ability. Go to the Disputes Tribunal website and click on ‘Types of dispute the Tribunal can’t help you with‘ you come up with ‘debts when the person owing the money agrees they owe the debt but doesn’t pay anyway’. TJ 0, Penk 1.

TJ then takes issue with Penk’s desire to ensure the Defence Force is front and centre in the public thinking as a valued part of New Zealand society. That until that happens the NZDF will always be behind the eight ball in its quest to be properly resourced and able to do the myriad of tasks required of it. I agree. For too many years and under successive governments the NZDF has operated on a shoestring. The country quite rightly honors those who served and have served on ANZAC Day. Penk is clearly focused on achieving something more than a one day lip service because until that happens the status quo will prevail. He is to be congratulated on that. TJ 0, Penk 2.

And so what that he is ambitious. Ambitious for New Zealand, ambitious for himself. Much better than the many back (and front) bench drones that inhabit the other side of the House.

Yep, Penk doesn’t take prisioners. He tells it how it is. He’s straight up and down. I can understand how a bit of honesty might get under Jackel’s skin.

Written by The Veteran

June 24, 2021 at 9:58 am

DAVID SEYMOUR MAKING A DICK OF HIMSELF

With his ill considered and childish comment on the news that Todd Muller will not be contesting the next election. Clearly Muller has made a considered decision that it is best for him and his family that he moves on. He deserves respect for that. I note too that his wife is about to undergo a serious medical procedure and I wish her well. Members spouses are often the unsung hero’s in the fishbowl that is parliament.

Seymour could/should have exhibited a bit of class. Not sure if he’s at the stage where he might be labelled a Gordon Brittas but his open mouth, insert foot, reminds me of the assessment by a senior ACT luminary who described him as the 80% consummate politician and 20% callow youth.

Report card on this incident … could do better.

Written by The Veteran

June 23, 2021 at 8:57 pm

Posted in NZ Politics

Tagged with ,

MORE ON LABOUR’S LATEST VANITY PROJECT

Auckland’s SkyPath bridge is looking like an expensive dog of the Kiwibuild variety designed to pander to woke JAFFAs. Last week Labour was forced to reveal that the benefit-cost-ratio for the bridge was 0.4 to 0.6 to one meaning that every taxpayer dollar spent on the bridge creates just 40c to 60c of value. Further, that those figures are predicated on there being no cost overruns and 2,700 cyclists using the bridge every day. Should any of those two figures prove rubbery then the bcr goes south.

Care to tell me of any major project coming in on budget … Transmission Gully +$196m with more to come; Auckland northern corridor improvement +$147m; Mt Messenger Bypass +$97m; Peka Peka to Otaki Expressway + $112m and that’s just for starters. And 2,700 cyclists on a cold wet windy day … give me (and them) strength.

And assuming those figures are kosher it works out that those hardy cyclists are getting a taxpayer subsidy of $41 per trip.

How to pay for it … easy. Cancel Northland’s Wellsford to Whangarei ‘economic’ highway extension; cancel the Whangarei to Marsden Point highway upgrade; cut the gummit’s contribution to the FNDC, Whangarei DC and Kaipara DC’s road maintenance and capital roading programmes.

Labour Party MPs Kelvin Davis, Willow-Jean Prime and Emily Henderson (who) are wasted spaces when it comes to sticking up for their constituencies.

Written by The Veteran

June 20, 2021 at 3:23 pm

Posted in NZ Labour Party, NZ Politics

Tagged with

A distorted economy

Two graphs that summarise where we are economically as a nation, and without even looking at the tourism numbers, which are bad enough on their own.

First up, real estate prices for residential properties.

Those increases, in one year, are staggering. In dollar terms they exceed any “help” that any government, even one as spendthrift as Labour, can give to young, first-time home owners.

The price to income multiplier increased during the “nine long years of neglect” of National from 5.05 to 6.08. Under Labours stewardship it’s now at 8.61.

It’s been common wisdom for twenty years now that Aucklanders were cashing up and heading to the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. But since when are retired Aucklanders or Wellingtonians cashing up their houses and moving to Gisborne (almost 50% increase) or for that matter the West Coast (33.6% increase). There will be specific reasons for this inflation but they all boil down to factors driving the basic economic law of demand exceeding supply.

In Auckland those factors have been population growth increasing faster than homes can be built – which in turn is based on government immigration decisions on the demand side vs. building regulations and costs, and even more so the land-banking of city planning causing huge lifts in the cost of land, far beyond the increase in house value itself.

But can those factors be driving demand exceeding supply across the whole nation this time? Immigration has been basically zero for the last year and while land-banking and city planning are a nation-wide supply restricting problem there have not been dramatic changes in those factors in the last year, and some areas have always been more relaxed than others. So what’s driving this recent nationwide inflation?

  • Government changes on investment deductibility and the increased time over which the bright-line test can be applied (basically a Capital Gains Tax) mean that investors are deciding now it’s not a great time to sell, reducing the number of listings (supply)
  • Sensitive people are feeling the breeze of general inflation and take positions to protect their own capital base by lifting those sales from the market, further tightening supply. Better to sit on the potential capital gains, increase the mortgage and use that money to buy a new boat. Notice the increase in prices for second-hand boats, caravans and motor homes.
  • Interest rates pushed down in 2020 as the classic mode of Keynesian response to a potential recession. That increases demand, at least for a while.

The government must be hoping that this is just a one-off and that once the housing market has adjusted to a post-Covid world, things will settle down. We should all hope for that but I see merely the results of a “critical mass” of factors that have finally come together at one point in time rather than individually affecting the market at different times. Even if this spike cools down, the ongoing house price increases will still be greater than we can cope with.

Then there’s this:

That’s Fonterra’s share price in the last three months. An awful drop from $5 per share to $2.82 that exceeds the percentage drop in 2018. That last was caused by financial problems at the company. Problems that, like the housing situation, had been bubbling away for years, but which hit critical mass that year.

Fonterra has since cleaned up many of those problems and was looking pretty healthy internally, with a good payout. So what’s happened?

Professor Keith Woodford is on the case as usual with two articles in May that discussed what might be coming.

You can read the details in those two articles . The summary comes to five points, the first two being around proposals only.

  1. Reduce farmer requirements to own shares, with them needing to hold one share for every four kg of Milksolids supplied, compared to the current one share for every kg of supply. That last is a hangover from Co-op days when the shares were a nominal $1 that never changed as farmers joined and exited co-ops.
  2. Shut down or cap one arm of its two-armed share investors world, the Shareholders Fund. This Fund and the related Trading Among Farmers (TAF) scheme allowed a two-way flow of “units” and shares between the Fund and the Farmer share trades, which kept the price of shares and units within a cent or two of each other and supplied vital pricing information to both farmer investors and external investors.
  3. The Fund allows non-farmers to buy shares and get a dividend but with no shareholder voting. While there was talk about enabling the company to raise capital this way without trying to get cash from cooperative members, the real reason was to remove the redemption risk as farmers exited the company. Under the old co-op model they would not have had the cash to pay them out. The Fund and TAF would shift the risk.
  4. The flaw was that the only way TAF could remove the redemption risk should Fonterra lose a major number of suppliers was by taking on a new risk of losing control of the company to non-farmer investors.
  5. The risk now is not from exiting farmers but from a substantial and ongoing reduction in production, perhaps in the order of 10% to 20%, primarily driven by future environmental regulations around herd sizes. That’s one rock. The other is that farmers still want to control the company.

While only proposals, they did suspend trading before the announcement and they have cut the link between farmer share trading and the external fund, showing the future to investors.

Those investors, the market, have reacted badly to all of this and although it would be easy to say that this is just frippery that ignores the now “healthy” internals of Fonterra, the fact is that share prices tell us what the market thinks of any company’s future.

Clearly Fonterra’s and perhaps the rest of the dairy industry’s future in NZ is not good. What that means exactly for the wider NZ economy is another question, but clearly for some environmental and economic extremists like No Right Turn the message is the same as for the Huntly power station and the fishing industry: Let It Die.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 19, 2021 at 12:24 pm

PAYBACK … LABOUR PARTY STYLE

Some of you with a passing knowledge of the Cook Islands will remember back when (Sir) Albert Henry redefined pork barrel politics. Drive on the ring road and those areas that returned Cook Island Party MPs were easily recognisable … the road was sealed. In constituencies held by the opposition it was potholes galore.

And the pork barrelling continues here in Northland. As part of our punishment for reelecting a National MP it is now reported that the gummit has reduced the subsidy paid to the Far North District Council’s road maintenance budget by 30% and canned completely any contribution to the district’s capital roading budget. I guess they had to find the $1 billion dollars needed to fund Auckland’s second harbour bridge (limited to bikies and pedestrians) from somewhere. Payback for the Greens.

Whoops … we didn’t reelect Matt King. The seat was won by the Labour candidate. Her score to date … the Wellsford to Whangarei four lane highway canned; Marsden Point to Whangarei highway upgrade canned and now the guts ripped out of the FNDC roading budget.

Payback to Northland … Labour Party style.

Written by The Veteran

June 14, 2021 at 3:03 pm